Initiatives to promote volunteerism, social enterprises

President Tony Tan Keng Yam (second from left) at the launch of this year's President's Challenge

President Tony Tan Keng Yam on Tuesday announced two new elements to the President’s Challenge 2012, to expand its scope beyond fundraising.

These include the President’s Challenge Volunteer Drive and President’s Challenge Social Enterprise Award.

The initiatives are aimed at encouraging people to go beyond money and give time, talent and business acumen to help the less fortunate.

Laksania, a social enterprise, trains and employs beneficiaries who were formerly from the Institute of Mental Health.

And to encourage the setting up of more of such social enterprises, a President’s Challenge Social Enterprise Award was announced.

This is to recognise outstanding social enterprises which are innovative and have made significant contributions to help the disadvantaged in the community.

This will be the only award within the social enterprise sector in Singapore that provides recognition to outstanding social enterprises, for their contributions made to the social service sector.

The award will have three categories – Social Enterprise Start Up of the Year, Youth Social Enterprise of the Year and Social Enterprise of the Year.

This year’s President’s Challenge will also include a Volunteer Drive to promote volunteerism.

The National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre will work with corporations, institutions, community and charitable organisations to raise awareness of the impact of volunteering. They will also create more volunteering opportunities within communities.

President Tan said: “Our traditional charities and voluntary welfare organisations are still very important and should be supported. Young people have new ideas, new outlets for energy and I think that volunteerism and social enterprise will reinforce the value of the President’s Challenge.

“If you can do all of this, then this will encourage Singaporeans to give, I hope not only their money, which is important, but also of themselves, of their talents, their time, their enterprise, and together we will build an inclusive, caring and engaged society in Singapore.”

The President’s Challenge will be raising funds for 55 social service organisations this year, up from the 39 last year.

Source: CNA